Self-organized networked learning environments
Dron, J. (2005) Self-organized networked learning environments In: Khosrow-Pour, M., ed. Encyclopedia of information science and technology. Idea Group, Hershey, PA, London, pp. 2459-2463. ISBN 159140553X
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The Internet has long been touted as an answer to the needs of adult learners, providing a wealth of resources and the means to communicate in many ways with many people. This promise has been rarely fulfilled and, when it is, often by mimicking traditional instructor-led processes of education. As a large network, the Internet has characteristics which differentiate it from other learning environments. As Kelly puts it, “the sum of the value of a network increases as the square of the number of members” . Because these interactions are mediated through computers and may be between many users at once, this is a notable underestimate. Churchill said “we shape our dwellings and afterwards our dwellings shape us” . If this is true of buildings then it is even more so of the fluid and ever-changing virtual environments made possible by the Internet. Our dwellings are no longer fixed but may be molded by the people that inhabit them. This article discusses a range of approaches that make use of this facility to provide environments that support groups of adult learners by adapting to their learning needs using nothing more than their interactions to provide structure and shape to their learning.
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